Milwaukee Brewers 2020 Season Report Card: Avisail Garcia
By David Gasper
As one of the newcomers to the Brewers offense, Avisail Garcia had some high expectations and fell flat on most of them.
After both Mike Moustakas and Yasmani Grandal took their combined 63 home runs from 2019 and signed elsewhere in free agency, the Brewers needed a power influx to their lineup. That was supposed to be Avisail Garcia.
From the 2017-2019 seasons, Garcia hit 18, 19, and 20 home runs respectively over those years. This year, he hit just two home runs. Granted it was a shorter season, but he still was nowhere near the pace of a 20 home run season over 162 games.
Just like most of the other offensive acquisitions this year, Garcia struggled offensively and his struggles were one of the main reasons why the Brewers fell short of their aspirations and expectations.
Avisail Garcia Report Card
This was very close to a D+ for Garcia. His offense did not provide the boost that he was signed to bring. His contract gives him an AAV of $10MM a year and his performance was not anywhere near worth that.
Garcia finished the season with a .238/.333/.326 slash line. His .650 OPS and 79 OPS+ were the lowest of his career and his .296 wOBA was also not good.
His exit velocity also took a dip in 2020, after sitting between 89-90 MPH for the last four years, Garcia’s average exit velo dropped to 87.4 MPH.
There was a key positive for Garcia offensively though, and that was his ability to draw walks. He bumped his walk rate up to 9.7% this year, a new career high, and his 20 walks drawn in 207 plate appearances this year matches the 20 walks he drew in 385 plate appearances in 2018.
That increased ability to draw walks could’ve been a byproduct of Garcia having to hit leadoff most of the season and change his approach at the plate. The opt-out of Lorenzo Cain had a tremendous impact on Garcia’s role for this season. Without Cain, Garcia had to step into the leadoff spot and step into centerfield.
The Brewers believed Garcia had the speed and ability to handle center, and he filled in as well as he could, but there’s also just no replacing Lorenzo Cain. No matter how well he played up to his ability out there, it just couldn’t compare to Cain’s defense. Garcia was at a -5 Defensive Runs Saved in centerfield this year.
Garcia had a few decent stretches at the plate, but he just couldn’t find the power stroke this year, and his hard contact rate dipped from 40.1% in 2019 to 27.3% in 2020.
There’s a lot of factors that could have negatively impacted Garcia’s performance. The sudden shift in position and shift in his lineup spot could’ve put too much on Garcia. Prior to this season, Garcia had only started 10 games in the leadoff spot in his career. He also only played in 41 games as a centerfielder prior to this season, and 30 of those games came from 2012-13.
There’s also the lack of fans and the other general oddities of the 2020 season that impacted every player this year.
Whatever the explanation, whatever the factors, Garcia’s offensive performance was a disappointment and he did as well as could be expected for a right-fielder playing in center, but he had some rough moments out there.
Garcia is under contract for 2021 and he has a club option for $12MM for 2022. If that option is going to be picked up, Garcia’s going to have to perform a lot better next season.
Our Brewers report card series will continue with more looks and letter grades on Brewers players for the 2020 season.